During the 2016 democratic presidential primary, I, along with many other young people, strongly supported Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. I continue to believe that he was the superior candidate in the democratic primary.
Unfortunately, my candidate and the candidate of a large portion of UTD students lost the primary. Despite my disappointment in this result, I believe that Clinton is the candidate best able to carry on Sanders’ work.
All of Sanders’ progress will be lost if Donald Trump is elected to be president of the United States. Trump has openly called for the privatization of the healthcare services provided by the Veterans Affairs Administration, a vaguely defined ban on immigrants and blocking remittances from Mexican workers to blackmail Mexico into paying for a wall along the border, among several other horrid proposals.
Those of us on the left who supported Sanders must make a very hard decision. In our first-past-the-post electoral system, a vote for a minor party candidate, even one who might be closer to our own views (i.e. Jill Stein), is essentially a wasted vote. It only serves to split the left-wing and centrist vote, subsequently making it easier for Trump to be elected.
Unlike Trump, Clinton believes that we need to end “tough on crime” policies. She has proposed a more humane treatment of non violent drug offenders and an end to for-profit prisons. Clinton supports steps to end police violence, which includes in part the formation of national standards on the use of police force, investing in research on implicit bias and matching funds from the federal government for police cameras.
She also has a detailed and vigorous plan for defending the LGBT community. Her plan consists in part of banning conversion therapy for those under the age of 18, funding law enforcement training which focuses on interactions with the LGBT community and lifting impediments to transgender individuals being able to have their preferred name on identification.
She is opposed to voter ID laws, which have served to harm minorities and supports automatic voter registration, a position that Sanders strongly agrees with. She also wants to enact legislation that would ensure that every American would get at least 20 days to vote. Most importantly, Clinton wants to pass a new version of the Voting Rights Act that would end the current era of voter ID laws.
In addition, Clinton will not only defend the Affordable Care Act, but she also plans on instituting a public option. This would add competition to the healthcare insurance market, forcing private healthcare insurance providers to provide more affordable plans.
In a nod to young people and Sanders, Clinton has proposed a plan in which students coming from families that earn up to $125,000 a year receive tuition-free college at in-state public universities.
While Clinton is not anywhere near perfect, she is someone who we as progressives can push and pressure to do the right thing (we got her to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership). From racial justice to the environment to student loans, Clinton has detailed proposals, which will make life better for all of us. Thus, as painful as it might be for some progressives, the only rational choice in this election is to vote for Clinton.